SHELBY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A year after she was supposedly left to die in a trash can, Foxy the dog is thriving in New Era, Michigan.
People would never know she was the center of a media storm last February, were it not for the permanent wink left behind by the surgery to remove her damaged eye.
Foxy has grown significantly. Although still a small dog, she is leaner and longer legged than most thought she would end up.
There is also another dog in the house named Mort, a Yorkie/Chihuahua mix about half the size of Foxy, but her equal in unbridled energy. The two dogs seem to get along quite well, often giving each other “kisses” as they both sit on the lap of their owner Erin Fisher, an attorney in Hart.
Fisher was chosen by the Kent County Animal Shelter out of dozens of applicants to adopt Foxy. She said it has been a joy to have her.
“She is just a sweetie. And I love her very much. And I’m just so happy about the way the story ended up. I’m glad she’s a part of my life,” said Fisher.
That story started when 18-year-old McKenzie Coleman called the Kent County Animal Shelter last year and said she had found a puppy with an injured eye in the trash.
The story of ‘Foxy the Dog’ became an instant sensation and was covered by multiple media outlets. But then it began to unravel.
Police questioned Coleman who later recanted the trash can story.
But no matter how Foxy ended up in the hands of the animal shelter, she still needed something done about that eye. Veterinarians determined it couldn’t be saved and sewed her eyelid shut.
After seeing Foxy and her new life in New Era, 24 Hour News 8 decided to return to Grand Rapids to speak to the woman who started it all.
Coleman is now 19-years-old, and 8 months pregnant with a boy. She lives with her mother on the southwest side of Grand Rapids in a rental house cut into multiple apartments and in obvious disrepair.
She won’t elaborate but says it has been a tough year, “I mean life is hard. You know? You gotta take it how you receive it,” said Coleman.
After the story emerged that Coleman hadn’t just found Foxy, but rather was her owner, Coleman received a huge amount of criticism from an outraged public.
She said the story was twisted and blown out of proportion.
“I have never hurt an animal in my life and it was weird to have somebody throw dirt on my name,” said Coleman.
She went on to say she did in fact find the dog in a trash can outside her apartment window on that cold February day. She told 24 Hour News 8 that she just didn’t tell the whole story to the animal shelter employees because she was trying to protect relatives and a family friend.
Coleman said Foxy originally belonged to her great-great aunt. The puppy was kept with a number of other young dogs of various sizes. Some of those “puppies” were much older and bigger, and one them apparently damaged Foxy’s eye during play. (The explanation correlates with veterinarians who speculated a larger dog had bitten Foxy on the head and caused the injury).
Coleman said her great-great aunt gave her the dog, which at the time appeared to by dying. Coleman thought Foxy would not survive, but Foxy proved to be a fighter and began to improve.
The eye, however, was getting worse. So a friend of the family said he might have more success and took Foxy into his own care.
He eventually decided it was a lost cause and left Foxy in a plastic waste basket outside the door of Coleman’s apartment door apparently to die in the freezing cold, according to Coleman.
Hours later, Coleman and her mother said they heard the puppy crying. That’s when they found her and called the Kent County Animal Shelter.
“We couldn’t do it for her. So that’s why I called the pound. We couldn’t do nothing for her,” said Coleman. She claims she never expected for the dog to be returned.
Coleman was thrilled to learn that Foxy is doing so well in her new home.
When 24 Hour News 8 showed her pictures of the now fully grown dog, Coleman remarked at how much she resembled “Chili” — Foxy’s sister.
Chili, minus the permanent wink of course, is the spitting image of her litter mate Foxy. Her eyes are clear and bright and she appears to be in good health. Despite being dressed in a pink dog coat she was shivering, which Coleman said was due to the extreme cold and not nervousness.
Coleman said Chili does not belong to her, but instead belongs to her mother — although all three live under the same roof.
As Foxy’s story was being told and retold over the last year, Chili remained in the shadows.
Fisher was surprised to learn that Foxy had a sister and was anxious to see what she looked like, but a reunion wasn’t likely.
Foxy has found a stable, loving life in her new home.
“I can’t imagine life without her. I can’t believe it has been a year. It seems like she’s been a part of my life for a lot longer,” said Fisher.